Survival of the Fittest Dept. One would think that in our liberal, enlightened times a book dating from the Victorian Age would be viewed as a quaint curiosity. Not so Dr. Ragnar Redbeard's (Jack London) notorious Might Is Right or the Survival of the Fittest. It is hated and denounced as much today as when it first made the rounds of the Victorian Age's elite and influential, which explains why the book is often featured on banned-book lists. Perhaps a 1905 ad for Might Is Right will give offer some insight:
This is a pitiless and appalling book by an author of extraordinary virility and rugged primeval force, whose sense perceptions borders on the supernatural.
Ten years ago private typewritten copies of this startling work sold in London and Berlin for $150. Since then the most powerful living minds have absorbed its teachings with satisfaction, but in guarded silence. Unquestionably it is the most pregnant and remarkable publication that has appeared in Christendom for 15 centuries. From its pages [Theodore] Roosevelt’s celebrated philosophy of ‘Strenuousness,’ ‘Race Suicide’ and ‘the Big Stick’ has been distilled and—diluted.
Prince Bismarck, Paul Kruger and President McKinley read it in manuscript before they died; and it has given nerve and decisiveness to the world-shaking aggressive activity of men like Cecil Rhodes, Von Buelow, Chamberlain, Elihu Root, Kaiser William, Abdul Hamid and Von Phleve. It has also had its effect on General Castro, Admiral Togo, Senator Tillman, Grand Duke Sergius, Lord Kitchener, General Trepoff, and their ablest adversaries. Indeed it has influenced public opinion throughout the whole world by changing the thoughts and opinions of national leaders and editors in the most wonderful way. It positively alters the course of mens lives. It has affected the destinies of nations, races, religions. It has annihilated many popular Ideals hitherto believed sacred and impregnable. Nevertheless it is written as interestingly as any romance.
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